The Team

Toward the end of her 9th grade, Z transferred to a very (very) small school in Gaylord. St. Mary Cathedral School. She was in love. Maybe not on her first day, but for sure by the end of the year. She went from a class of nearly 400 to a class of 17. She was in her element. She immediately picked up friends, got involved in everything, challenged all of the rules she thought she could get away with breaking, and generally spent her time being loud, fun, assertive, and happy. She was so happy there.

As soon as she started, she dropped herself into the archery team. She competed on the team for 4 years and proved to be a steady aim and straight shooter. She consistently did well and loved all of it. Even if she did occasionally insert high school drama into her narrative.

We are not an athletic people. Z had tried sports before. In 8th grade she was on the girls track team and performed so poorly that one time the next race was set up while she was still running the previous race. But Archery? She took to that like peanut butter to jelly. We never knew why it clicked, but it did.

At the conclusion of her first season she made me purchase a new competition bow since she’d been borrowing a team bow. She picked out bright pink. She never shot it. Even once. She ended up in love with the team bow and used that for the next three years.

For as little time as she spent actually practicing, she was remarkably good. She wasn’t amazing. There were most likely no Olympics in her future, but she was good enough that she was on the “A” team that always finished national competitions ranking extriemly high. Especially considering most of the competing schools had archery teams as big as the entire student body of her school.

She’d found an archery club in Detroit so she wouldn’t have to give it up when she started college. She loved to shoot.

When she was shooting, she was with her people.

The archery team wore their uniform shirts to her funeral.

Tonight her coach sent me a picture. There was an adjustment made to the archery records board in the school gym. Obviously, my allergies kicked in.

St. Mary Archery / In memory of Isabella “Izzy” Williams. She is permanently with her people.


I’ve mentioned before that Z passed away on my late husband’s birthday.

August 16th is also her coach’s birthday.

Being part of the perfect team is 5 stars. Would recommend every time.

4 thoughts on “The Team

  1. Cindy Cosway February 12, 2018 / 220182America/Detroit

    My feelings like this sweet, touching tribute. Yay Team Z !


  2. Sylvia Muir February 13, 2018 / 220182America/Detroit

    This made my allergies act up, too. In a big way. I will always fondly remember Iz lining up to shoot, and being the last to finish shooting. Because she was deliberate. Unhurried. Focused. Dedicated. A team player, in the best sense. (Say hi to Mom for me, Is. I love you. So much.)
    Aunt Sylv


  3. Mike Lawnichak February 19, 2018 / 220182America/Detroit

    I had the great pleasure of Coaching Izzy. She came into a practice looking quite different than most girls, let’s say from up north! Nothing to crazy, nor was she dressed out of line. We put a bow in her hand ,showed her the fundamentals and literally in a couple days turned her loose and she never looked back. She became a top shooter on our team in a short period. Soon metaling in tournaments, scoring into the 290 s . Her Senior year , while shooting at Central Michigan University she found herself in a shoot out at the end of regulation time with one of the best shooters in the state,which happen to be her own team mate. She was a true pure shooter! Now Izzy the person. Cheerful, Faithful, Sweet, Gifted, and a stunning beautiful young lady. I taught Izzy how to shoot and in return she taught me about life. Don’t judge a book by its cover, every time I see someone dressed a little different, maybe with a little different hair due I think back to the first days I met Izzy. A smile hits my face and I think she just might be a Izzy,,,,,,,, The world could only be so lucky and blessed! I do have to say for the record it didn’t take long Izzy became a great mixture of up north and down state style. She left the world , making it a better place and the people around her, Certainly including me! I was very honored to have her call me Coach! Miss her every day. Gaylord St. Mary Archery Coach
    Mike Lawnichak

    Liked by 2 people

    • scottjohnsonphotograph February 28, 2018 / 220182America/Detroit

      We couldn’t even begin to verbalize how completely wonderful St. Mary’s school was for all of us. Your comment made me remember her initial visit. She walked in with a cheetah design haircut on one side and blackish/purple hair on the other. I’m sure anyone in the hallway walking past and viewing this had a lot to report back to the other students. From there she and Stan acquired the proper attire to start school the next day. She returned home with hardly two words. The next month or so, she relaxed and school was something to look forward to. Archery was a niche that welcomed her and she felt her calling. I loved her line on her Senior farewell speech. ” Mr. Lawnichak and Mr. Matsco, And the archery team unlocked a talent that was deep inside me. Plus now I have a valuable skill to keep me alive during a zombie apocalypse”.

      How prophetic her words were when she said, “Four years ago I showed up to St. Mary’s a tiny freshman. Now I’m a tiny senior saying goodbye to a roomful of fun, friends, teachers and my 2017 family”

      Thank you for all you did and you do!

      (Izzy’s Grandma), Suzy Scott


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